May Ask Terry Posted

Terry Brooks

For many years the only chance a fan had of speaking to Terry was to meet him at tour events or conventions.

With the establishment of this website in 2000, Terry began accepting two questions from each fan per month. On the last day of the month, five questions are randomly drawn. Terry answers these five questions and they are posted monthly for your enjoyment.

Below are the questions selected from May 2020 and Terry’s answers! Enjoy!

Note: This section may contain spoilers!


Dear Readers,

Are we sick and tired of COVID-19 yet?  I know I am.  But at the same time I appreciate the work everyone is doing to keep it from surfacing in most places and spreading to create a new reason for sheltering in place.  Take this time and reflect on how lucky we are in so many ways to live where we do and to have the lives we lead,  I don’t think about it a lot.  I just do my work, write my books, enjoy my family and friends and try not to think about being in my 70s.  Just seems surreal sometimes.  But, hey.  Thanks for providing increasingly fascinating and spot-on questions for Ask Terry.  It keeps me sharp in more ways than one.  Let’s have another round right now:

Joseph Kreklau writes: In The Black Elfstone, the black staff makes a brief Nolan Briggs writes: In the Bearers of the Black Staff, Prue and Pan travel east in the Valley to reach Arborlon. However once the Four Lands are established, Arbolorn is in the Westland. How did that happen? Were the Four Lands established out of the Valley and east of Arborlon?

Terry Brooks replies: It might seem like a miracle that Arborlon could just up and move like it appears to do here, but it isn’t all that odd.  If you remember way back to the Genesis of Shannara series – and The Elves of Cintra in particular – you will remember that Arborlon was situated in the Willamette Valley (Oregon) which was south of where much of the action in those three books was taking place.  But then the Elves moved east towards the mountains and Arbolon was re-estblished elsewhere over the next thousand years.  It was moved again to Morrowindl in the Heritage of Shannara series much later on.  So there is precedent for this happening.  The Elves are a mobile nation of Faerie creatures, so for them to be one place or another and then move is not entirely unusual.  

John writes: Will you ever do any events in Albuquerque? I have read and I am re-reading the Shannara series. I have most of the books on hardcover and e-book and would love to get some of my books signed.

Terry Brooks replies:  I used to go to Albuquerque regularly back in the late 1980s and into the early 1990s.  I signed at Page One (or was it Chapter One?) a number of times.  But then my focus shifted to other cities in other areas and I just didn’t get back.  So I am sorry about that.  Now it seems it might be a while before I go anywhere, so I’ll have to ask your patience once again.  I should add that my current focus is less on bookstores and more on conventions because I can reach more people that way and the bookstore landscape has changed dramatically.  I am not sure what will happen in the future, but check out the website for information on where I will be each year.  This year I won’t be touring.  I will be hosting a virtual Shannara Con later in the year, where I will be available in new virtual ways and visiting with and enjoying the company of other author friends to celebrate the past 40 plus years of the series with The Last Druid.  Hope you can make it.

Brian Slope writes: You are ending Shannara with The Last Druid. That is sad for a lot of us. Do you have any plans for passing it on to someone else in the future?

Terry Brooks replies: No immediate plans, Brian.  I have to step back from it for a few years and see how I feel about going back into it myself.  There are obviously areas of storytelling in the series I have not written about.  But whether I do more myself or look to someone else to do the heavy lifting, I don’t know.  I can tell you that in March of next year I will be publishing a book of short stories called Small Magic, which will include three tales from Shannara that you might want to check out – along with tales from Word & Void, Magic Kingdom and a few strays that wandered in over the years.

Shoopdiesel writes: Greetings from the Bluegrass! I hope that the downtime has been good for you and Judine. I have to say that not having a new Brooks book this Spring has been tough, but we’ve all had bigger issues. My question is a simple one. If 2020 Terry Brooks could go back and tell that young lawyer typing away at his first novel over 40 years ago, what advice would he give him? 

Terry Brooks replies: Hey Shoop!  I keep telling people that life now and life then are not all that different.  In both eras, Judine and I mostly stay home and worked on writing and editing.  We are not much for going out or even traveling all that much anymore, so that part is staying pretty much the same.  I do miss going to the movies and other events and do miss going to see other authors and having the freedom to just pick up and go anywhere we wish.  On the other hand, I now have three books ready to send out to readers – all of which will publish in a 12 month period from October 2020 through June 2021, so that feels gratifying.  Also have started something entirely new – even from the two book set I am writing for the immediate future – and am very excited about how it feels.  I think I am grateful for having a chance to still write and publish after all these years. What advice would I offer myself?  I would probably say something along the lines of “Writing is going to be the most important work you ever do and do not take any of what happens for granted.  Life seems like a long time, but it goes by fast. So take advantage of whatever comes your way.”  Something like that.  Also, pay close attention to readers and their advice.  Sometimes it can be pretty valuable.

Corky Dunsmore writes: The events of the Word and the Void series echo our current socio-political culture, climate change, the poisoning of the waters, mass extinction, destruction of habitat, and the behavior over the radical right almost seems like the ‘once men.’ Did you write those books as a warning? Are you more afraid now than when you wrote them?

Terry Brooks replies: Wow, Corky.  That is a pretty heavy question.  I did write Word & Void with a sense of a future I thought was looming over the horizon.  I wish it wasn’t, and I do not much care for living in this time period.  So much is troubling and so much of what is happening leaves me with this one feeling – I never thought I would live to see this happening.  But, we don’t get to make such choices.  Good writing requires that we pay attention to what is happening around us, and most of the time I am writing with that in mind.  So to some extent, what I write in any given time period is what I see happening in the larger world I live in.  That some things I wrote about came to pass later is not a great source of satisfaction to me, but it does feel like I’ve predicted correctly now and then.

Okay, gang.  That’s it for this month for Ask Terry.  Will be back again with new questions and answers, and it will be summer and I will be sitting out in my backyard looking out at the ocean and dreaming of other places and other lives and other stories.  Hope you will join me in the books when they are written.  Take care of yourselves and each other.  Set a good example and be kind.

And definitely be safe,

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